How to find the right exercise class for me? There are a lot of people out there who really don’t like exercise. Kim Kane is one of them. She forced herself to attend an indoor gym but it was a struggle to make herself go. “It was a very macho environment and trying to motivate myself, even with a list of exercises was difficult”.
Fortunately, there was one good thing about the gym – trainer Ing Ong who also ran outdoor fitness groups. Kim decided to give those a try and today, despite “never ever ever being an exercise person before” does three to four classes a week with her refresh YOU Meadowbank group.
“It’s much nicer training outdoors and it seems to help me achieve my fitness goals. In the gym it was easy to underestimate what I was capable of but at refresh YOU, I’ll think: ‘OK, I’ll give that a go.’”
Kim likes the way her trainer Ing tailors the class for each individual, never embarrassing people by ordering them to do something they can’t. “I totally relate to her,” says Kim. “In fact, she’s very much loved by our whole group.”
Choosing the right exercise class for me: 8 great questions to ask
If you’re like Kim and struggling to find an exercise regime you love, try asking yourself the following questions:
Is the exercise class outdoors?
The benefits of exercising outdoors rather than indoors are extraordinary.
According to research :
- Exercise feels easier outdoors so you work harder without realising it, complete more sessions and enjoy it a lot more.
- Green exercise increases feelings of revitalisation so relieves mental fatigue, and reduces tension, stress, anger and depression.
- Immune levels are raised during outdoor exercise and remain raised, too. In one study a group of men who’d done a three-day trip through a forest found their immune function and anti-cancer cells stayed high for an incredible 30 days after they’d finished.
- Exercising outdoors provides exposure to sunlight which boosts vitamin D levels.
What are the trainers like?
A trainer can set themselves up in business with minimal training and, worryingly, can claim specialisations in tricky areas such as post-natal or senior workouts after completing just half a day of study.
Don’t feel nervous about asking your trainer about their background and observe a class to see how they manage older bodies, injury or newbies. Watch to see if they’re sticklers for good technique or if they’re too busy chatting or looking at their phone.
What’s the longevity of other members and how often do they attend?
The majority of gyms lose 50 per cent of new members with the first six months. The average is 12 – 15 months. Many refresh YOU members, have been coming along for seven years or more. Whatever outlet you decide to join, chat to other members first and ask how long they’ve been coming, how many times a week they attend, and what they think about what’s on offer.
Do they keep you connected between exercise class?
Research has shown that people who feel connected to their exercise class attend more sessions, arrive on time, are less likely to drop out and more likely to enjoy mental benefits. Check to see if your trainer supplies you with regular social feeds of health and fitness information and if your group organises events outside the exercise sessions whether coffee, runs or fund-raising.
Does it look friendly?
Exercising with friends is so enjoyable you’re more likely to stick with it even if it’s difficult, according to this excellent piece in The Conversation.
Exercising in a group also boosts confidence in your own ability. If you’re not used to exercising but see people you know breaking a sweat, you’ll be less nervous about breaking a sweat too! Making friends within an exercise group means you’ll also receive encouragement, healthy competition and even help with practical concerns like lifts
Is it convenient and cost effective?
It’s no good joining a exercise class that’s on the other side of town. You need to be able to get to training easily and get home afterwards or something will give – and it’ll be the exercise. Make sure there are no hidden extras and that if you have an emergency and need to drop out, you won’t find it difficult to extricate yourself.
Will it help you set and achieve goals?
Setting specific, measurable and achievable goals will help you give you direction and motivation. Check that trainers will keep you accountable, care if you don’t turn up and are always available to discuss goals and provide information to help you achieve them.
Does it look enjoyable?
There are basically four types of exercise.
- Exercise you do alone
- Exercise you do with others
- Exercise requiring very little attention and focus
- Exercise which requires lots of attention.
Exercise you do with others and that is challenging enough to be interesting, such as team sports or fitness groups will be the most enjoyable. Look for an exercise outlet that will offer a range of different challenges.
If you’re reading this, and you reckon refresh YOU ticks all the boxes (it does) and want to give it a try, then mention this blog and you can get one week’s free training.
There are classes in Annandale, Lindfield, Turramurra, Meadowbank, Enfield, Pymble or St Ives. If you enjoy yourself, there’s no joining fee and you can sign up for one, two or unlimited classes each week.